The Carolina Panthers have the #1 overall pick in this offseason's NFL draft. They are expected to take Cam Newton, the Heisman winner from the University of Auburn with that selection. The Auburn quarteback had one of the greatest college football seasons ever by a single player. He threw 31 touchdowns and rushed for 20 for the eventually BCS champion Tigers. With a terrific offseason, he has rocketed up draft boards and most "experts" have him going #1 to Carolina. I too have him going #1 (my mock is too be published soon) but I don't think he should go number one. The Panthers probably will select him, but they shouldn't.
Cam Newton is a boom or bust prospect. There is very little "in between" for the 21 year old quarterback. He has a huge risk factor attached to him. There is a chance that he will be a monumental bust. Do the Panthers want to end up like the Raiders? Still playing JaMarcus Russell 5 years later? No, they don't. The Panthers are not a team that should be taking a potential 80 million dollar investment (Sam Bradford got 78 mil last year and the #1 pick has gotten more and more each year).
No, instead the Panthers should select Marcell Dareus, the defensive tackle from Alabama or Patrick Peterson, the cornerback from LSU. Both of these players are considered "sure things" with very low bust possibilities and that's exactly what Carolina needs. When your picking #1 you can't take a guess, you need a sure thing. Making a bad selection will set your organization back for years. Again, just ask the Raiders. Selecting either one of these players would, alongside lineback Jon Beason, give this defense two young stars for years to come. Peterson is a lock-down corner with the potential to cover the NFL's best receivers on an "island". Dareus is a very complete defensive lineman, who can pass rush and excels in run stoppage.
But possibly the best reason for not taking Cam Newton is a player not even in this draft, or in the NFL for that matter. Another player or two who could benefit this team. Neither of these players have even graduated college yet. Yes, I am talking about Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley. Regardless of their selection with the #1 overall pick this year, the Panthers will almost certainly have a top 5 pick next year as well. Barkley (provided he comes out early) and Luck will be QBs taken very high in next year draft. Luck, who would have been the #1 pick this year had he come out, is an unbelievable prospect. Many believe him to be the next great QB in the NFL and he has drawn comparisions to NFL greats such as Montana and Elway. He will be no doubt the #1 overall pick next year, a pick Carolina has a great chance of getting. Barkley is a young but rapidly improving QB. He has a very strong arm and has shown the ability to read defenses well. He plays in a pro-style system and his game translates well to the NFL.
Carolina should realize what is coming up in next years NFL draft and take advantage of it. Now is not the time to risk it all on a QB who has had his share of negative publicity (I won't even get into the pay for play scandal). The Panthers would be very wise to pass on the franchise QB this year and wait for the real prizes next year. This franchise has a lot of corrections and rebuilding to do and picking Marcell Dareus or Patrick Peterson is the first step in that process. So, go for it Carolina. Shock the world. Don't pick Cam Newton. You will thank me later.